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He gives them a share in His sonship and empowers them, as His disciples, to speak with their heavenly Father in just such a familiar, trusting way as a child would with his father. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, ,. Jesus Himself used Abba Aramaic for "Father" in addressing God, a use without parallel in the whole of Jewish literature. The explanation by some of the early Church fathers Chrysostom, Theodore, Theodoret was that Abba was the word used by a young child addressing his or her father.

It was an everyday family word, which no one had ventured to use in addressing God. And so Jesus uses it quite naturally to address His heavenly Father in as childlike, trustful, and intimate a way as a little child to its father.

Thoughts on the Lord's Prayer.

And He was saying, " Abba! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt. Paul likewise mentions that because of our redemption and adoption into God's family, NT believers can address God as " Abba ". For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, " Abba!

But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

by C. S. Lewis

God is addressed in terms of intimacy Father. The original Semitic term here was probably Abba. The term is a little unusual in a personal prayer, especially as it lacks qualification. Biblical Studies Press.

To open this model prayer addressing God as Father , indicates He is personal not merely "a higher power" and that He cares for His family as a father would. The fact that He is " our Father " establishes the relationship the family relationship. He Jesus came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God , even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John Jesus answered Nicodemus and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he? Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


The early church actually forbade non-Christians from reciting this prayer as vigorously as they forbade them from joining with believers at the Lord's Table! Kent Hughes - the idea that God is our Father, our Abba, is not only a sign of our spiritual health and of the authenticity of our faith, it is one of the most healing doctrines in all of Scripture. Some grew up only with a mother and no father. Others grew up in conventional homes where the relationship with the father was negative at best.

Expositions of the Lord’s Prayer

But whatever our background, we need the touch of a father, and our God wants to provide that. Some of us need to bow before God and simply say, "Dearest Father, Abba" and so find the wholeness and healing that he wants to give us The problem among some evangelical Christians today is the opposite - they have sentimentalized God's fatherhood so much that they have little concept of his holiness.

Many Christians are flippantly sentimental about God, as if he is a celestial teddy bear. Such flip familiarity outwardly suggests super-intimacy with God but actually hides a defective knowledge of God. The qualifying phrase Father Who is in heaven is used most often by Matthew and reminds us of his transcendent nature exceeding usual limits; extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience.

Transcendence is a theological term referring to the relation of God to creation. This simple understanding of transcendence makes our privilege of approaching Him intimately like a son or daughter would their earthly father, all the more humbling and praiseworthy. Our transcendent God is also the omnipresent God and is never farther than a prayer away!

Expositions of the Lord’s Prayer | Reformed Books Online

Phil Newton adds a practical note to those who have had "suboptimal" relationships with their earthly fathers writing that Some of you may have bad memories of your earthly father. I have observed through the years that some people have unfounded fears of God, and grave apprehensions of depending upon Him because they bear deep wounds of their own earthly fathers that disappointed them time and time again.

The image of father brings pain to them and not delight. They never felt an intimacy with him because of his self-centered ways.

That is why our Lord distinguishes the Heavenly Father from all sinful, earthly fathers. He is not like those bad memories that haunt your understanding of God. Gardiner Spring gives us a picture of what it means to call upon God as Father. The world knows not of this relief, to spread before Him the secret wants of the soul; to tell them one by one; to tell them all.

The conscience, wounded by a sense of sin, finds healing there. Want there finds supply; distrust finds confidence and depression finds praise. Ignorance is enlightened there; poverty is enriched, and weakness becomes strong. Darkness is there dissipated and trembling hopes encouraged. The bruised reed is not broken there, nor is the smoking flax quenched. Grace there cherishes what it bestows, and completes what it begins…There are no broken cisterns at the mercy seat; it is all a fountain of living water, where streams flow from it, without which this earth were a desert.

It is in the sphere of relationship to God as Father that kingdom citizens find the significance of prayer. It is not a psychological exercise that helps us to cope with the troubles of life, but the heart of children gathering into the bosom of their Father to find peace, comfort, security, and provision for every need. Do you see the Father like that? Are you in relationship to Him through faith in Jesus Christ alone? Then pray, and pray often and boldly, to the Father in heaven.

One often hears someone begin a prayer with " Dear Jesus The Bible is our only guidebook for Scripturally sound praying and supersedes the experience or traditional practices of men, whether pastors or laymen. What we do observe is that the entire Godhead is integrally involved in the prayers of the saints. The Holy Spirit leads and initiates our prayers.

Expositions of John 17: the Lord’s Prayer for his Own

The Father is the One to Whom all of our prayers are directed or addressed. And finally, all of our prayers ascend to the Father's throne only through the Great High Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ a truth which explains why we always end our prayer with a phrase like " in the Name of Jesus ". In fairness one might argue that petitions to Jesus made while He was on earth set the precedent for prayers to Jesus. For example, Peter cried out "Lord, save me!

The writer of Hebrews emphasizes Jesus' Great High Priesthood role over and over as for example in the following passages Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God the Father through Him , since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God the Father , that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Not only are you in the family, but you are forever in the family you can't be kicked out of the family because you are sealed, Paul explaining that In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

In summary, when we pray, effective prayer is brought to the Father in the Name of Jesus. We ought to pray through the Son, rather than to Jesus. The phrase "in the name" as used in the New Testament generally signifies the representation of the person whose name is used, standing in his stead, fulfilling his purposes, manifesting his will and showing forth his life and glory.

To pray, therefore, effectually in His name means realizing our standing in Christ, our union with Him, and seeking His glory. The mere use of the name of our Lord in prayer without the spiritual reality of our oneness with Him and deep desire to glorify Him by having his will done in our lives is unavailing. But knowing Him and bent on doing His will we can pray in His name.